Pan-African independent power producer, Sturdee Energy, has announced that it has reached commercial operations for two of its solar power plants in Botswana, the Shakawe (1MW) and Bobonong (3MW) Solar Plants.
Sturdee was awarded a tender to develop the projects by the government of Botswana in 2019. The two projects were built for an estimated investment of approximately US$5,5 million.
Sturdee highlighted that the solar projects, as the country’s first renewable energy IPPs in Botswana represent a major milestone in the country’s renewable energy journey. The energy company expects the solar power plants to produce over 10 000 MWh of electricity in their first year of operations.
Under the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) signed between Sturdee and national utility BPC in 2021, the electricity generated by two solar plants will be sold exclusively to BPC for a period of 25 years.
The projects are expected to open up Botswana’s renewable energy sector to new players looking to harness the country’s vast renewable energy potential. The Southern African country has considerable renewable energy resources, most notably solar, wind and bioenergy which are largely under-exploited.
Achieving energy independence in Botswana
Botswana is heavily reliant on neighbouring South Africa to meet some of its energy needs. However South Africa itself is experiencing power supply challenges, as state-owned utility Eskom’s ageing coal power generation fleet fails to generate enough power to meet South Africa’s and its neighbouring countries’ electricity demands.
Given the risk posed by Botswana’s heavy dependency on South Africa for electricity supply, the country is looking to reduce its reliance on its neighbour and utilise its vast renewable energy potential to meet its own energy needs. The two solar plants by Sturdee form part of Botswana’s plans for energy independence.
The Southern African country currently has an installed power generation capacity of 890MW, of which coal power makes up 99% of this capacity.
According to Botswana’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) released in December 2020, the country expects renewable energy to account for 15% of the electricity generation mix by 2030, growing to 50% by 2035.